Have you ever driven by a house under construction and noticed the wrapping around it? That is called house wrap. There are numerous benefits associated with house wrap, and most new construction today includes it.
However, you may be wondering, “What is house wrap?” and why is it used? If you are considering building a house, read on to learn about the benefits associated with house wrap and how long it will last.
Related: Parts of a house everyone should know.
What Is House Wrap?
House wraps are made of synthetic and lightweight material. The house wrap goes behind the house’s siding and over the sheathing. The house’s siding is the first line of defense against air leaks and water. The second line of defense is the house wrap. This backup barrier keeps water off the house’s framing and structural sheathing. It also stops air leaks from moving through the cavities of the wall.
What Is House Wrap Used For?
House wrap creates a protective envelope around the house. It creates a moisture and air barrier to keep air and moisture from getting into the wall cavities. In addition, it is a weatherization membrane that can protect your house from damage.
What Is House Wrap Made Of?
House wrap is a lightweight material made of synthetic material. It has replaced asphalt-treated paper and is installed over sheathing but behind the siding. House wrap material is thin but resilient. This construction allows it to serve as a weather-resistant barrier that keeps the rain from getting into the wall while also allowing water vapor permeability. There are different types of house wraps available depending on how builders construct your house and the climate in which you live.
Is Housewrap Really Necessary?
House wrap’s water resistance functionality is essential. If you live in a humid climate that receives a lot of rain, the house wrap is essential as it can prevent damage from water penetrating the house. There are numerous benefits associated with house wrap that emphasize how important and valuable it is in your home construction. Though some contractors may not install house wrap, most do these days.
Benefits Of House Wrap
There are many benefits to installing house wrap. For one, it helps create a more energy-efficient home. This can help you save money on your heating and cooling bills. A house wrap also creates a healthier, more comfortable indoor space. If moisture builds up in a house’s wall cavities, it can cause wood rot or mold buildup. This would be a costly issue to correct later. Proper installation of house wrap can help avoid such headaches.
Another benefit of house wrap is that it provides some insulating value. This can also improve the efficiency of HVAC systems. House wrap does not replace good insulation, but it can serve as an additional level of protection.
Effectively installing house wrap will eliminate air leaks. If there are uncontrolled air leaks, the house’s effective R value is lowered. A wall’s effective R value measures its resistance to airflow. This means that the lower the value, the more susceptible the wall to air infiltration. You do not want air infiltrating your house.
To enjoy the benefits of house wrap, it must be installed properly. The manufacturer’s installation instructions should be followed and only use the seals and fasteners that are recommended. Here are some house wrap installation tips. House wrap should be installed before the doors and windows. Installation begins at the bottom and works its way up. House wrap should be extended by two inches or more over the footing top.
The special tape provided by the manufacturer should be used to seal the seams. In addition, nails and staples that are designed for holding down house wrap should be used. A protective rain screen can also be installed to help control the movement of moisture. Finally, be sure the house wrap is properly installed between the double top wall plates.
When properly installed, there are numerous benefits to having a house wrap.
What Happens If You Don’t Use House Wrap?
While house wrap is deemed a necessity by most contractors and housing authorities, some contractors do not think that house wrap is essential. If you do not use house wrap, you risk water infiltration or cold air getting in the wall cavity. This could lead to poor energy efficiency or even mold or rot.
House wrap is a substantial barrier that provides energy efficiency and serves as a moisture barrier. This is important for your health, the integrity of the structure, and your pocketbook. Though your local building codes may not require house wrap installation, the benefits outweigh the costs. House wrap barriers underneath the exterior siding are easily installed and provide significant benefits.
Why Do They Wrap New Houses?
New houses are wrapped to provide the benefits previously discussed. It is important to control moisture movement in order to prevent mold growth. New homes have a focus on energy efficiency, and wrapping the house is one way to improve the home’s energy efficiency and create a comfortable indoor environment.
You can even use both house wrap and foam insulation to protect your house further. For example, suppose your house uses a “picture frame” window construction, meaning that windows get framed with strapping lumber before installing the windows. In that case, some contractors will recommend putting the rigid foam on first before the house wrap. Both the foam insulation and the house wrap prevent air leaks and infiltration, so either order is acceptable.
New houses are wrapped because regardless of the type of siding, there is the opportunity for water penetration. Wood siding benefits significantly from this type of barrier because there are numerous seams where the boards overlap. Each seam is an opportunity for water or air to get in. Similarly, aluminum and vinyl siding also have cracks where the pieces are joined together. Once again, this is an easy way for water to enter the home’s wall cavities.
Houses that have brick, stucco, or other masonry-based sidings can also benefit from a house wrap. However, the right type has to be used. If you use a micro-porous house wrap, moisture can actually accumulate in the wall cavities behind the masonry. This is why it is essential to work with construction professionals who know exactly what type of house wrap is needed for your home and will follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions so that you do not create more problems down the road by using the incorrect type of house wrap.
How Long Does A Home Wrap Last?
House wrap goes under the house’s siding, regardless of the type of siding materials used. Because of this, the house wrap should last nearly as long as your house does. This is great news because you can install house wrap once and not worry about it again.
If it is correctly installed, there is no need to replace the house wrap unless there is a fire or other type of structural damage to your house. The main factors that affect the durability of the house wrap occur before the siding is installed. There are different types of house wraps that are rated by how well they handle UV exposure, their tensile strength, and their resistance. Therefore, it is important the siding is installed by the deadline of how much UV exposure the wrap can handle.
How Much Does It Cost To Wrap And Side A House?
The cost to install house wrap and siding will vary based on the size of your house. It typically costs less than $1 per square foot to install house wrap. The cost of siding can vary greatly depending on the material chosen. For example, vinyl siding will be much cheaper than brick siding.
What is the point of Tyvek?
Tyvek is one of the most popular brands of house wrap. Tyvek is considered the original house wrap and is still one of the best on the market. The product uses a unique, nonwoven structure to make it breathable. Such a design allows moisture to pass through it efficiently. This enables the Tyvek to provide the structural, safety, and energy benefits discussed above. The product even comes with a 10-year limited warranty from its manufacturer DuPont.